On a folk-art inspired chair a young woman sits with her legs folded like bows under her. She peers out across a bush garden. The morning air is overflowing with noise. Parrots in giant trees gossip shrilly and insects resonate a low hum. The dogs are barking at an intruder somewhere to the distant south, while a piglet is squealing for his breakfast. She is unruffled. Taking a sip from a mug of milky tea she beams a smile born out of ease and relief. ‘I am home,’ she sighs. The somewhat awkward and yet entrancing Australian folk singer/songwriter Chloe Tully is troubadour of a different kind. Born and raised in outback Australia, on a sheep and cattle station 1,200km west of Brisbane Chloe grew up saturated in the history of her Irish pioneering ancestors and cattle kings of the late 18oo’s. She did her primary schooling at home and was taught by her mother through a program called ‘School of Distance Education’ via the radio. It was also during those early years that she learnt guitar. Her father’s choice of music such as John Denver and Paul Kelly heavily influenced her development as a musical child. At the age of ten, and at her insistence, Chloe was sent to boarding school. ‘That’s when I began to heavily rely on music. I was often homesick and because my parents were ten hours away, the only thing I had to hold onto was music.’ Chloe remembers in high school how she often spent her Friday afternoons in the music blocks and not socializing in the dormitory. ‘Looking back, I was a bit of a dag,’ she says grinning. ‘What I enjoyed more that anything was being locked in a soundproof cell with a piano, or guitar. I wrote some of my first songs in that room, and I’m still playing them at shows.’ This desert nymph seems to be bringing a piece of the outback with her, scattering hints of it in between song lyrics and on the stage. Yet there is no cowboy hat to be seen. She escorts her listeners on a journey of human interactions and personal discoveries. ‘It’s the intangible desert spirit, that connection to the earth, the people’s stories and my connection with the same piece of land over generations…that’s what flows through me and out of the pen.’ As with the idea of things better left unsaid, Chloe chucks that hang-up out the window. The lyrics have it; the grief, fear, love, hurt and jovial moments she has lived through in all twenty-two years. ‘Being honest is crucial. The more I show my heart, soul and innards to the audience, the better I feel after a show. And I can relax with the comfort of knowing I gave myself away during the set. It’s almost like letting go of a secret you’ve held onto for too long.’ Composure is one attribute Chloe has had to learn for herself, admitting to suffering serious bouts of stage fright early on. She describers to me how she overcame the crowds; ‘It’s quite funny. I see many entertainers that are so at ease with that kind of attention, they sparkle under the lights. After numerous gigs of
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